“I’m getting bombarded with emails urging me to reserve my [.law, .attorney, .dentist, .business] domain now, but I’m not sure if I should pay $200+ for that. Is it worth it?”
We’ve been hearing that question more and more from our clients. Have you been debating the same thing?
Our advice is that, in most cases, it is more valuable to continue building up your existing .com site rather than starting from scratch with a new presence on a new industry domain. In the past, when new domains have come out (like .biz or .net), searchers have always given more credibility to the original .com names. It’s too early to tell if this will happen for the new top-level domain (TLD) names or not. However, preliminary research suggests that consumer response is likely to be the same as it was for .biz and .net domains.
For example, current research from Internet security experts are finding higher rates of scammers and malware on these new addresses than on traditional domains. Also, a Moz study asked Internet users if they would be more likely to trust an insurance quote from a website that ended in .insurance, and 62% of Americans and 67% of marketers responded that they would be unlikely to trust the quote, based on the domain name alone. Clearly, the new TLD names have yet to inspire confidence and trust in consumers.
TLDs offer no real SEO value, since they’re not included as a ranking factor in search engine algorithms. If you’ve been working on your current site’s SEO for a period of time, you’ve likely built up a foundation of links, keyword rankings, and content and optimization efforts.
So to make it worthwhile to purchase a new industry domain, like “sanantonioaccidentattorney.law,” for example, you’d have to also develop a new site on that domain and invest in SEO for that new site, in addition to continuing to build on your existing domain. This could mean doubling your current Internet marketing spend. If you switch domains completely, you lose the authority you get with Google for your site’s age, as well as the work you’ve already put into your current domain.
With so many competing TLDs for each industry (for example, attorneys can choose from the domains .attorney, .legal, .lawyer and .law), it seems very likely that original .com domains will continue to stand out for a long time to come. If you have a well-known brand or specific industry terms in your URL, it may be worth purchasing the new industry domain names defensively. Otherwise, it is probably a better investment to keep building content, links, and authority on your existing .com domain.
Have more questions about SEO strategy? Check out our blog, or see our case studies on how we’ve helped businesses turn visitors into leads, and leads into conversions.